February 2010

Michael Jackson, 1959 - 2009

Since Michael Jackson passed away in 2009, the King of Pop Music is now gone, having sold about one billion recordings. An entertainer like this might take a lifetime to replace!

Surely his life has been analyzed so many times by so many people, no one should take another stab at it. So why don't we take a look at some other child singers, see what happened to them when they grew up...

But first, here's a Jackson Five video. Rockin Robin was a cover of Bobby Day's only hit, from 1958:

He out bopped the Buzzard and the Oriole

Darla Hood 1931 – 1979

Born in Oklahoma during the Great Depresssion, Darla Jean Hood was a staple in Hal Roach studio's Our Gang comedies by the time she was four years old. Her version of I'm in the Mood for Love is easily as good as anything that Shirley Temple recorded. After she outgrew the role, she continued in the entertainment business as a guest on TV shows, recording songs, and as a nightclub act. If you rent or buy B-movies, you can check out Darla in The Bat with Vincent Price in her only adult movie appearance. She died at age 47, contracting hepatitis after a minor surgury.

You've got the cutest little baby face

Frankie "Sugarchile" Robinson 1938 -

Sugarchile was an extraordinary piano player, a true prodigy. His popularity peaked during the 1950s, then he disappeared (by choice) to an academic career. Someone out there, 72 year old Dr. Robinson is playing a boogie! If he was to appear today as a seven-year-old, Sugarchile would easily win any of the television talent shows.

How'm I doing, Folks?

Frankie Lymon 1942-1968

He wrote and performed a number one hit when he was 13, but by 25 years old he was dead of a heroin overdose. Lymon's soprano voice was second to none; if he lived in 18th century Italy there's little doubt he would have continued his career as a castrato as did 4000 other boys each year back then... Lymon's voice change was part of his downfall. Not a one-hit wonder, The Teenager's "complete" boxed set include five CDs, and don't forget that Frankie continued to cut recordings after the Teenagers broke up.

Why do Fools Fall in Love?

Brenda Lee 1944 - present

At three inches less than five feet tall, you'd never guess where all that voice came from. Brenda Lee had a massive pile of hits in the late 50s and early 60s. She's still going strong, check out her web site!

They never said that the Unknown Editor was high class...

The Rocky Fellers

Most people will note that Freddy Mercury (of Queen) was the first Asian artist to chart in the top 40 in the U.S. But they are wrong. The Rocky Fellers from the Philippines were a generation earlier. Their recording of Killer Joe reached No. 16 on the Billboard chart in 1963, but they were at their best covering doo wop! They faded to obscurity as British bands took over the U. S. pop charts.

Except one brother, he's my father!


The Rocky Fellers are just too good for one video, here's another one...


Killer Joe

Tony DeFranco 1959 -

The Defranco Family came from Ontario. Tony was their lead singer, born 31 August 1959, almost exactly one year younger than Michael Jackson. Its a Heart Beat charted to number 3 and sold 2 million copies. Their fame didn't last long, and Tony now sells real estate in Southern California. Today these Canadian kids seem quite skinny, but that's only because of what we are used to seeing kids look like.

Listen to my love sound

What's the conclusion? Most child entertainers careers' are short lived. Jacko's life was cut short, but his influence is undeniably greater than any kid that ever held a microphone while wearing a stage outfit sewn by his/her mother.

Check out the Unknown Editor's amazing archives when you are looking for a way to screw off for a couple of hours or more!